Remember to fill in your census this Easter

There has been a great response to Census 2021, but to avoid getting a knock at the door from a field officer – get on and fill in your census this Easter.
Census 2021 image

Millions of households across England and Wales have already made sure they count when it comes to planning and provision of the key services we all rely upon, like GP surgeries, school places and hospital beds, by filling out their online census form.

However, it is vital everyone who hasn’t yet responded does so as soon as possible now Census Day, March 21, has been and gone.

Field officers are already out and about and will visit households who have not submitted their census this Easter weekend. The operation will reach its peak next week so more officers will be knocking at doors where their records show there has been no response.

“Census 2021 has gone brilliantly so far,” Office for National Statistics director of operations Pete Benton said. “The overwhelming majority of people across England and Wales have already taken part and we’ve heard some great stories: from those completing their 10th census to those completing their first.

“But, for us to have the most accurate picture of the whole population, we need everyone to fill in their questionnaire. By doing so you will be helping shape the local services in your community – the bus routes, school places, the hospital beds. You can do it easily online, but for those who want help, we have a range of census support centres open across England and Wales, and paper forms are available for those who need them.

“Everyone is required by law to respond to the census and if you do so now you won’t be fined.”

The census questionnaire is simple, straightforward, and safe to complete online. It only takes 10 minutes per person in a household.

The role of field officers is to give help and encouragement to those who have not yet filled in their census questionnaire online or on paper after Census Day and direct them to the support services they need.

Field staff will never need to enter people’s houses; they will always be socially distanced, be equipped with PPE and work in line with all government guidance.

They will be operating in the same way as a postal or food delivery visit. They also carry ID to show they are genuinely working on the census.

The census is a unique survey of all households in England and Wales. To be truly representative, it needs everyone to be counted.

“That includes people with second homes,” Benton said. “If you’ve not been to your caravan, holiday let or city commuter pad because of lockdown, you still need to complete a census for all your properties – even if there’s no-one there – so that we get an accurate picture of the entire housing stock.

“And if you’ve moved out of a home in London or another city and into a second home in a more rural location during the pandemic, you need to complete a census for both properties.

“All students need to be included in the census too. They should complete it for their usual term-time address. If they’re currently living at their home address, they will need to be included in the census for that household too.”

All households will have been sent a letter in the post in early March with instructions for taking part. If you have lost the letter or have a second address you have not visited, go to census.gov.uk to request an online completion code for your address via SMS text message. You’ll find all the help you need online, or you can visit one of their local census support centres where you can get help to fill out your form.

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Youthwatch Darlington interview NSPCC and Kooth for this year's Children's Mental Health Week 2021.